Following a recent rape incident which took place at a bar on campus, female students at the University of the Western Cape say they feel more unsafe now than ever.
A 22-year-old student was allegedly raped by an unknown male in a bar toilet. The student said she was drinking at the bar on campus when she needed to use the bathroom. An unknown male followed her to the bathroom and pushed her into a cubicle and locked the door. He then raped her.
Speaking to SABN, two students said the recent incident has made them extra cautious of their surroundings, saying that they do not feel safe on the campus grounds.
Both students, who are currently writing exams, say that having to write their exams at night adds to their fear.
One student, who uses her own car to get to campus, says that when she leaves the exam room, she mentally prepares herself to fight back, should she be attacked.
” Since the recent rape incident on campus, I feel extremely unsafe on campus in the evenings. I cannot even walk to my car at night without rehearsing what I’m going to say or do if someone attacks me. Most of my semester tests are scheduled for 5pm which means that by the time I finish writing it’s already dark outside and I’m already dreading the walk to my car because of the fear of being attacked. Part of me actually wants to refuse to write at 5pm so that I don’t have to go through the whole walking in the dark thing, but obviously that’s not possible.”
The student went on to say that the level of security doesn’t make her feel safe at all. She said that almost anyone can access the premises.
“It’s so easy to enter the campus, you either have to know someone with a student card and drive through with them or you could just tell them at the entrance that you’re picking a student up and they’ll let you through. I don’t understand how I’m supposed to feel safe at a place like this and it’s probably even worse for those that do live on campus.”
Another student said that she usually gets picked up outside the campus gates, but ever since the rape incident, she waits outside her exam venue.
“Since last year’s incidents I have been way more alert on campus but time went on and people stopped talking about it. But then this recent one happened and it just made me not trust campus. I write late exams. I start at 5pm and will finish around 7/8pm. Either my sister or my boyfriend picks me up. My boyfriend usually waits for me outside of campus but since this incident he gets me literally outside the exam room I wrote in because I’m too scared to walk alone on campus.”
The student said that since the incident, a silent protest was held in one of her classes. She feels like the university is letting all of the female students down as a whole.
“Friday they had a silent protest in class and they said that none of the rape cases have been solved. That means every single one of those rapist got away. It’s like UWC is just brushing it off. There’s no justice for us females. Our security is literally a joke. People get raped and robbed on campus and they just act all never minded. All they do is check your boot when you leave or if you have goods in the library. That’s it. The serious issues don’t get sorted out,” she said.